Needs and Moral Necessity analyses ethics as a practice, explains why we have three moral theory-types, consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics, and argues for a fourth needs-based theory.
Comment: In this book, Reader defends a needs-based ethical theory and places it in the context of existing ethical theories. Her style of philosophy is straightforward and for the most part, absent of jargon, making it a very good resource for introductory teaching contexts. At the same time, her arguments are nuanced and developed, and it could just as easily be useful in the context of more advanced students. This book offers a critique of the dominant ethical theories existing in contemporary philosophical literature, and for this reason, could be useful in introductions to western social and political philosophy to teach alongside the traditional approaches to moral theory and to get students to challenge the hegemony of those approaches. It might also be useful as a way to discuss methodology and writing style in philosophy: Reader's approach and style of writing is very accessible to non-philosophers, but she still advances a fairly complex argument. Therefore, it could serve as an illustration of how written philosophy need not be technical or opaque in order to advance interesting claims.